A 25-year-old Hephzibah man drowned today while swimming near Lake Thurmond Dam.
Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Johnny Whittle said the man and his girlfriend arrived at West Dam Recreation Area about 12:40 p.m. Around 1 p.m. the man swam to a buoy about 20 yards off shore. As he returned to the bank, he disappeared, Capt. Whittle said.
"He went underwater and never surfaced again," Capt. Whittle said.
The woman ran and asked another couple for help. The couple - one swimming and one on a raft - searched for the man until emergency personnel arrived.
Columbia County Dive Team members pulled the man's body from the water about 2:15 p.m. - 25 minutes after they arrived.
Zack Harness, a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the man's body was found about 8 feet offshore, in about 20 feet of water.